Posted tagged ‘cubs’

What the Cubs Need

October 14, 2011

Hope is a bastard of an emotion.

Sure, it helps people survive life-threatening situations or gives them the will to live/fight against impossible odds and somehow come out on top. Hope lifts you up when all seems lost.

But it’s also the reason it hurts so bad to be a Cubs fan.

It’d be one thing if the Cubbies just came out every year without having made any off-season moves, or traded away all of our good
players, (a la the Pirates), or decided to stop playing people to artificially drop our gargantuan payroll, or just generally showed signs of officially throwing in the towel.

But the Cubs don’t DO that. They (against all odds) inspire hope that next year NEXT YEAR will be The Year.

Hiring Theo Epstein is a perfect freaking example of this.

Here’s the story: I pretty much gave up on the cubs this season in April. Maybe May. MAYBE. Here I am, mad at the team because of an atrocious season, ready to swear them off for the entire next season and save myself some mental and emotional anguish, and, as per usual, they do something in the off-season (when the playoffs start) that Inspires Hope. This year they go get the GM that brought the Red Sox their first world series in a good long while. They got a world series-less streak killer of a GM!

But I tell you what: I’m skeptical.

Yup, skeptical right in the face of Hope. Sure Theo did a wonderful job with the Red Sox and got them a ring (and he might just be the messiah if he does it for the Cubbies, too), but the Sox have a bigger payroll than the Cubs and completely imploded at the end of this season. The Cubs’ m.o. for years has been to pick up a big-name player and pay him more money than he deserves (I’m talking to you, Soriano). We (as fans and as a team) don’t need more of that.

What we need is to build on the (few) positives from this season. Darwin Barney is excellent. Starlan Castro is one of the brightest
young stars in the game. We FINALLY fired our god-awful, terrible, jackass of a GM. It looks like we won’t have Zombrano next year to “guarantee” a world series victory only to follow up his words with temper tantrums and mediocre pitching. This LeHair kid shows promise. Marlon Byrd can see just fine and looks to be the leader this team has been missing since we stupidly got rid of de Rosa.

What we need is our GM to be focused on getting talented YOUNG players on the team. We need to build up our farm system and promote from within rather than trying to bring in some star player (Albert Pujols or Prince Assface) to save the day. We need to re-establish the culture of winning that we had in the early 2000s when we were the perennial favorites to win the Central every year (read: invest in/ develop excellent starting pitching). We need to cultivate a closer from our own staff (We have three viable candidates in Wood, Marshall, and Marmol – they just need some help. We need our new GM to bring in a manager dedicated to his team, to developing young players, and one that doesn’t tolerate mediocrity or childish outbursts, but rewards balls-to-the-wall effort.

The Cubbies have the talent to be a decent team. What they need is the leadership to take them to the next level. Here’s hoping Theo can bring some magic back to the Cubs. Lord knows we can’t get any worse.

Go Cubbies!



It Kills Me to Say It…

August 27, 2010

… but Wrigley Field has to go.

I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m a devout Cubs fan. I love my Cubbies, even though I currently hate them.

And I love Wrigley Field – it has history, it’s gorgeous, it feels like home … it’s the Friendly Confines. But it’s killing the team, and here’s why.

The new ownership has no motivation to spend money and get the team winning. Wrigley sells out every game (even if there are currently empty seats, those seats were bought and paid for) and brings in truckloads of money to the owners. The Cubs are one of the worst teams in baseball and have one of the highest payrolls. A smart owner would see a devout fan-base, trade away the big contracts and re-build, investing in the team with the ultimate goal of becoming World Series Champions.

Instead, the owners poured money into Wrigley, making it a more fan-friendly place. Wrigley was ALREADY a glorified bar. A friend of mine once told me that Wrigley is the only stadium in baseball where you could turn every seat away from the field and still sell out games. At first I thought it was ridiculous, but the more I see Cubs “fans” away from Chicago, the more I think he’s right. People go to Wrigley for the stadium, not so much for the team.

And maybe a new stadium is what we need to really kickstart the team. It worked for the Yankees and the Cardinals (new stadiums brought them rings in their inaugural seasons), maybe it’ll work for us, too. Hell, maybe just threatening to tear down Wrigley and rebuild will light a fire under the organization’s ass because fans would riot.

All I know is this: the Cubs gave up on their season right around the same time I did: May. It’s been a painful year to watch, even more painful to think that the owner didn’t fire Jim Hendry, the worst GM in baseball, and I’m tired of a “fans” going to Wrigley to get wasted with their friends and ignore the game.

It’s time for a major change with the Cubs. I thought the new owners would do it, but so far they just seemed concerned with ticket sales.